Communicating with Our Customers

new catalog signageDuring my library’s ILS (library catalog) migration project, we wanted to make sure our customers knew about it. It’s not usually a good thing to have your customers show up the day after we go live, thinking “what in the world happened here?”

Communicating with 170,000 people is no easy task! Here’s what we did:

Signs in the building: We had signs everywhere in the building (check out my Flickr set to see some of our signs), including:

  • huge banner in our entryway
  • images pointing out the new catalog was coming on our digital signs
  • small stand-up signs on tables and at the service desks
  • signs on all the catalog-only computers
  • a HUGE sign at the circulation desk

digital branch signageSigns on our digital branch: if you visited our website in the past month, you knew about our ILS migration! We used one of our big ads on the main page of our website to point to an article and video about the change. People actually read the article (judging by our Google Analytics numbers) and we received 38 comments on the article (some from me, answering questions).

We actually used that article and the big front-page ad as a countdown of sorts, too. Every day, we updated the ad (i.e., 3,2,1, it’s here! type stuff) and updated the article with a “tip of the day” for the new catalog.

Social Media: We shared about the project widely via social media. For us, that meant pointing to the article and answering questions about the project using Twitter and Facebook. We also made a video about the project, and dumped it into Youtube and on our website.

Traditional Media: we have a good relationship with local media, so we were able to tell customers about the new library catalog via a local TV station (they do a “Library Tuesdays” segment during their 4pm news show) and through an article in our local newspaper.

And now, the big question – did all that communication work? I think so. While I’m sure there are people showing up at the library or at our website, thinking “what the heck? Why does this look different all of the sudden?” I also know that customers knew about our project. Why? Because they told us. I had more than one person come up to me, find out I worked at the library, and said “how’s that new library catalog project coming along? We love the library!” Other staff told me they had a similar experience.

That says to me that our customers, for the most part, got the message. So – mischief managed!

Have you ever had to communicate with a large group of customers about a project? Did you do something I didn’t list? Let me know in the comments!

Promoting your Social Media Presence – Signage

Social Media icons
Social Media signage at TopekaLibrary

You’ve seen those “follow us on Facebook” signs at stores and restaurants, right? Or heard a radio dj mention following their radio station’s Twitter account on-air?

Guess what? Libraries can do the same thing!

As a first experiment, my library recently placed two “follow us” signs in our building – one at the main entrance to the library, and one on our administrative office doors (shown in the photo).

Why do this? Easy – it’s a relatively unobtrusive way to tell our customers that we have a social media presence, and that we want them to follow us. It’s also a way to link the physical to the digital – by promoting our digital presence (i.e., our Facebook Page) in our physical presence (i.e., our building).

Where else could we put these signs?

  • Our meeting rooms (maybe a stand-up card on a table)
  • Our cafe (stand-up card there, too)
  • In the stacks, with our books
  • As a background on our public PC monitors (we might do this)

One thing we can improve onKathryn Greenhill mentioned this to me recently – when you make a sign advertising your social media presence, make sure to include a URL or at least your social media name. Otherwise, people might not be able to find you (we were talking about this particular sign)! For example, my library’s full name is Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library … but we’re simply topekalibrary on social media sites. We’ll add that on the next version of the signs.

And a funny – watch the arrangement of your icons! We almost put the Facebook icon first … until someone in our Creative Group mentioned that we were spelling “F You[tube].” Certainly not our intent to tell customers to “F You!”

Like these ideas? Come hear more on November 2 at my ALA Techsource webinar on Facebook Pages! Make sure to register!

Check Your Signs!

I was room 429 ...A couple months ago, I stayed at a hotel in Wisconsin with this sign … seems pretty useful, huh?

Except if you’re in room 429, like I was. I actually had to hunt a bit to find the room (it wasn’t obvious).

The point? Make sure to check your digital “signage” once in awhile. Make sure your labels and headings still make sense. Did you change the name of a room or a service? Make sure to change that name everywhere on your website, too.

Has your budget shrunk and you needed to drop a few databases? Make sure you removed those links on your database page (and any other page that mentions them, too).

Have you checked the driving directions to your library lately? At a previous job, I checked them out after starting, and discovered they were WRONG. So I actually hopped in my car, and drove around for awhile, taking notes of different ways to get to the library – and updated those directions.

Website maintenance never stops, huh?

Oh – and Happy New Year, too! I am looking forward to a fun, challenging 2010 – how about you?